Well, maybe more like Enduring Zero. Sitting inside reliving Ecuador did not seem to be the best way to spend Christmas Day, so I went out for a walk through the Portage and later visited with the yard birds. We had snow on Christmas Eve so the setting was perfect, and if a little cold, at least the sun was shining in the morning. Little did I know at the time that Christmas Day’s weather would be considered balmy by the next day’s standard. And this morning I walked to the train in -4 degrees Fahrenheit, before the wind chill.
I drove around for 40 minutes to various Cook County Forest Preserves beyond the Portage, all with closed parking lots. I am not fond of driving but it was pleasant enough listening and singing along with a Peter Mayer (from Minnesota) CD, and there were hardly any cars and the sun was shining brightly. When I did returned to find the Portage parking lot open, I was the only visitor. The trails were covered the deer tracks.
When I did find a few birds, for the most part they were half hidden.
The most commanding presence was snow covering everything. Beyond that, I found a few geese and ducks on the Des Plaines River.
Just as I was leaving, an adult Bald Eagle flew over. I didn’t get a picture, but below is a juvenile from last week’s Christmas Count on the Fox River.
I decided to go home, fill the feeders and hang out with whoever showed up in the yard.
There were a number of House Finches, and although the light was waning, I was surprised to see the males looking as red as they did.
I am always happy to see Mrs. Cardinal and any hardy little Dark-Eyed Junco.
My male cardinal swooped in for a remaining hawthorn berry and posed with it. As if to verify his supreme redness.
I still have the weather for Quito on my phone. The temperature seems to stay around 58-60 degrees. I think it’s time to go back to the pictures from Ecuador. If you made it this far, your reward is three pictures of Long-Tailed Sylphs. More to come in the next post.
I find some satisfaction in knowing the days are already getting longer.